Rethinking consistency: Finding balance in the pursuit of success

Picture Emily, a 32-year-old CTO of a scaling company.

She has been a key player in her startup's rapid growth. She is known for her relentless drive and has a reputation for never shying away from a challenge… She’s also prone to overcommitting and burnout.

As the CTO, Emily is central to every major project and decision. Her days are a jumble of meetings, problem-solving, and decision-making. She is proud of her startup's success but increasingly feels the strain.

Recently, she was leading a meeting with an investor, and a feeling of overwhelming exhaustion came over her. She instantly deflated, lost all her energy, and barely finished the meeting. They didn’t get the funding.

Sounds familiar? (I have certainly been there myself.)

We’re constantly told that the secret to success is consistency. But if you find yourself in a constant cycle of all-out followed by burnout, it might be time to rethink what "consistency" really means.

Consistency is indeed key. But at the same time, most people misunderstand what it means.

Consistency can come in many forms. Yes, it could mean committing 100% of yourself every day.

It can also mean:

  • Consistently prioritizing your well-being and the well-being of the people in your care,
  • Consistently adapting to new situations while staying true to your mission and your values,
  • Being consistently open and transparent in your dealings,
  • Consistently seeking feedback and using it constructively,
  • Consistently delegating decision-making authority to others,
  • Showing up consistently authentic.

So, after that disastrous meeting, Emily started questioning her approach to consistency. She recognized that her unsustainable work habits were not only unhealthy for her but also set a harmful example for the entire company. She knew she had to make some changes.

Now, Emily is focusing on empowering her team. Consistently. She’s beginning to delegate more—she already trusts her team, but she has to learn to trust herself to play a more strategic role, too.

Emily’s also focusing on showing up authentically and sharing her struggles with her team.

This not only helps her feel not alone and benefits her personal well-being but also has a ripple effect throughout her team and the entire company. The team feels empowered to find creative solutions, more productive and engaged, and happier to come to work every day.

The investor noticed the changes too, and is back at the negotiating table.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation, pushing too hard at the expense of your well-being? Where can you find consistency in your work without driving yourself toward burnout?